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Hawker calls for Ararat Centrelink to remain put.

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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E W

Federal Member for Wannon

1 September 2008


Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, has called on Centrelink to remain at its current site in Ararat, stating that 64 High Street is the ideal location for this important service.

“Labor has signed off on Centrelink’s removal to a site on the highway more than a kilometre away, in what appears to be a completely uninformed and short sighted move,” Mr Hawker said.

“Centrelink’s current position in Ararat is ideal, located within the Government, Employment, Health and Childcare precinct of Ararat.

“It’s immediate neighbours include the Department of Human Services (DHS), West Vic Division of General Practice, the Medical Clinic, St. Laurence, Brace and Workco employment offices, VIC Roads, McDonald House and of course the Ararat Rural City offices.

“The Barkly Street shopping centre is to the rear, allowing customers of this precinct to conduct their business as well as shop in Barkly and surrounding streets by parking their cars once - all services and shops are within very easy walking distance.

“Centrelink has adequately served the local community from this location for the past 12 years, the building having been designed specifically to Centrelink requirements,” he said.

Mr Hawker said removing Centrelink from the current precinct will sever a vital link that connects many of the other offices and businesses in the precinct.

“In particular, DHS and the employment agencies rely heavily on having very close proximity with Centrelink for both customer and professional connections,” he said.

“In addition, Centrelink customers will now have to get back in the car and drive to the new location. For those customers that do not have cars, it means a fairly lengthy hike from the CBD and then back. On a cold winter's day or a 40 degree scorcher, this will not be fun.”

Mr Hawker has approached the Federal Minister for Human Services to reverse the decision to approve the move.

He is also calling on Centrelink to consult with the local Ararat community and Centrelink customers on the proposed move.

“I think they will find that the local community wants Centrelink to remain put in the easily accessible location it currently holds,” he said. - ENDS - Media contact: Jane Templeton (02) 6277 4118